Family Medicine Interest Group: A VITAL PROGRAM

By Dallin Olson, MSIV

Early on in medical school, my wife and parents asked, “What is effmig and why are you spending so much time working on it?” I explained to them that FMIG stands for Family Medicine Interest Group and it advocates to increase medical student interest in family medicine. It is well known that our country has a shortage of physicians; in particular family physicians.  As outlined below, FMIG is designed to help fulfill this need.

FMIG groups are well established at most medical schools; however, some are more active than others. Luckily, I am affiliated with a well-supported FMIG chapter at the University of Utah. My FMIG group receives substantial financial support from the Department of Family Medicine as well as the Utah Academy of Family Physicians (UAFP). This funding allows FMIG at the University of Utah to be very active.

NATIONAL RESIDENCY FAIR:

The first big event of the academic year occurs during the summer when FMIG financially supports medical students to attend the Family Medicine Residency National Conference held in Kansas City. This opportunity is invaluable as students are able to rub shoulders with residency program personnel and get a vibe of where they may want to complete residency. For me, this opportunity was irreplaceable. Because of my experiences there, I applied to programs that were not on my radar. Who knows, I may complete residency at one of these programs. Thank you FMIG for this great opportunity!

RECRUITMENT:

FMIG at the University of Utah has one big recruiting day at the annual Student Interest Group Fair. A couple FMIG representatives (who are medical students of course) man a booth where they talk with incoming and current medical students about the group. Each year a list of 60-80 names and emails of new students are collected. We maintain contact with these students throughout the year and give them first dibs at events sponsored by FMIG.

LUNCH LECTURES:

FMIG puts together monthly lunch lectures designed to illustrate the diversity and flexibility of family medicine. Topics range from rural, to sports, to hospitalist medicine, and with presentations by the National Health Service Corp (NHSC) on loan repayment programs. A wide variety of topics is selected each year by leadership. These events are always well attended by at least 50 medical students.

MONTHLY WORKSHOPS:

Perhaps the most beneficial and desired activities sponsored by FMIG are the monthly workshops. FMIG leadership works closely with the four family medicine residency programs to put on skills workshops. These include: casting, obstetrics, wound care, suturing, and joint injections. Spots are limited and go fast. These workshops illustrate the variety of family medicine as well as teach important skills for family physicians and other physicians in general. I remember placing my first cast at one of these workshops. Nowhere else in my education have I had this opportunity.

LOCAL RESIDENCY FAIR:

Another amazing experience for medical students is the annual Utah Residency Fair. This is a unique and incredible opportunity. Much like the residency fair in Kansas City, programs come to Utah to talk with our students. Programs from as far as Pennsylvania come and attend the fair. The event is always well attended with donations from the community to support the fair and encourage student participation. This early and regular exposure to over 15 residency programs helped me gauge programs and also placed me on various program’s radar.

WRAP-UP:

All in all, I am a huge supporter and promoter for FMIG (just in case you couldn’t tell!). FMIG is crucial to expose medical students early to family medicine and all it has to offer. Throughout my four years of involvement in FMIG leadership, I have seen the program grow each year with more and more student interest and participation. For me, I know FMIG has strengthened my commitment to pursue family medicine. Interest groups dedicated to primary care such as FMIG are essential to fulfill the needs for more primary care physicians.

Dallin Olson is a 4th year Medical Student at the University of Utah School of Medicine.  He is also serving as FMIG Co-President.

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